Long Lost Page 36

’’Here,’’ Win said.

He handed me a mini-revolver, the NAA Black Widow. I looked at it. ’’A twenty-two?’’

Win usually favored larger weapons. Like, say, bazookas or rocket launchers.

’’The UK has some pretty strict laws against carrying a firearm.’’ He handed me a nylon ankle holster. ’’Better to keep it concealed.’’

’’Is that what you\'re carrying?’’

’’Heavens no. Do you want something bigger?’’

I didn\'t. I strapped it onto my ankle. It reminded me of a brace I used when I played basketball.

When we arrived at the cemetery, I expected to be more ghouled out, if you will, but I wasn\'t. The two men were standing in the hole, almost done. They both wore matching aqua blue velour sweat suits from my aunt Sophie\'s Miami collection. The majority of the digging had been done earlier in the day by a small yellow excavator that sat to the right as if looking down at its handiwork. The two velour-clad gents just needed to scrape the coffin enough to open it and remove a few samples, some bone or something, and then they could close it back up and pour the dirt back over the contents.

Okay, maybe now I was feeling ghoulish.

A misty rain fell upon us. I stood and looked down. Win did too. It was dark, but our eyes had adjusted enough to see the shadows. The men were bent low now, almost out of sight.

’’You said you learned something.’’

I nodded. ’’The men following me. They spoke Hebrew and knew Krav Maga.’’

Krav Maga is an Israeli martial art.

’’And,’’ Win added, ’’they were good.’’

’’You see where I\'m going with this?’’

’’A good tail, good fighter, got away without killing you, spoke Hebrew.’’ Win nodded. ’’Mossad.’’

’’Explains all the interest.’’

Below us, we heard one of the men curse.

’’Is there a problem?’’ Win called down.

’’They put a bleeding lock on these things,’’ a voice said. He flicked on the flashlight. Now all we could see was the coffin. ’’For cripes\' sake, why? My house doesn\'t have a lock this strong. We\'re trying different keys.’’

’’Break it,’’ Win said.

’’You sure?’’

’’Who\'s going to know?’’

The two men forced up a laugh the way, well, men digging up a grave might. ’’True, right that,’’ one said.

Win turned his attention back to me. ’’So why would Rick Collins be involved with Mossad?’’

’’No clue.’’

’’And why would a car accident from ten years ago reach a level where the Israeli secret service would show interest?’’

’’Again, no clue.’’

Win thought about it. ’’I will call Zorra. Maybe she can help.’’

Zorra, a very dangerous cross-dresser who had helped us out in the past, had worked for Mossad in the late eighties.

’’That could work.’’ I thought about it. ’’Suppose the guy I hit with the table was Mossad. That might explain a few things.’’

’’Like why Interpol would freak out when we tried to get an ID,’’ Win said.

I thought about that. ’’But if he was Mossad, so was the guy I shot.’’

Win thought about that. ’’We don\'t know enough yet. Let\'s contact Zorra and see what she can find out.’’

We heard exertion and scraping and pounding from below. Then a voice called up, ’’Got it!’’

We looked down. The flashlight showed two sets of hands pulling up on the lid. The men grunted from the effort. The casket looked regulation size. That surprised me. I had expected something smaller for a seven-year-old girl. But maybe that was the point, right? Maybe that was what was saving me from feeling overly ghoulish I didn\'t think we would find a seven-year-old\'s skeleton.

I really didn\'t want to watch anymore so I stepped away. I was here just to observe, to make sure they actually took a sample from the grave. This was crazy enough without knowing that everything involving this test was rock solid. If it came back negative, I didn\'t want anyone saying, ’’But how do you know it was from the right grave?’’ or ’’Maybe they just said they dug but didn\'t.’’ I wanted to eliminate as many variables as possible.

’’Got the casket opened,’’ one of the diggers called up.

I saw Win look down. Another voice floated up from the hole in a whisper. ’’Sweet Jesus.’’

Then silence.

’’What?’’ I asked.

’’A skeleton,’’ Win said, still peering down. ’’Small. Probably a child\'s.’’

Everyone just stood there frozen.

’’Get a sample,’’ Win said.

One of the diggers said, ’’What kind of sample?’’

’’A bone. Some fabric if you find any. Seal it in those plastic bags.’’

A child was buried here. I guess that I really didn\'t expect that. I looked at Win. ’’Could we be all wrong about this?’’

Win shrugged. ’’DNA doesn\'t lie.’’

’’So if it\'s not Miriam Collins, whose skeleton is that?’’

’’There are,’’ Win said, ’’other possibilities.’’

’’Such as?’’

’’I had one of my people do a little investigating. Around the time of the car accident, a little girl from Brentwood went missing. People were sure the father did it, but no body was ever found. The father remains free to this day.’’

I thought about what Win had said before. ’’You\'re right. We\'re getting ahead of ourselves.’’

Win said nothing.

I looked back down into the hole. A dirty face from below handed up the plastic bag. ’’All yours, mate. Good luck to ya and go to hell.’’

Win and I left then, carrying a brittle bone of a child we had dug up from her quiet sleep in the middle of the night.


WE got back to the Claridge\'s at two in the morning. Win immediately left for some ’’Mee Time.’’ I took a long hot shower. When I checked the room\'s minibar, a small smile crossed my face. Stocked with chocolate Yoo-hoos. That Win.

I chugged down a cold one and waited for the sugar buzz. I put on the TV and continuously flipped stations because that\'s what real men do. American shows from last season. Terese\'s door was closed, but I doubted that she was sleeping. I sat by myself and took deep breaths.

The clock read two AM. Eight PM back in New York. Five PM in Scottsdale, Arizona.

I looked down at my phone. I thought about Ali and Erin and Jack in Arizona. I didn\'t know much about Arizona. It was the desert, right? Who wants to live in the desert?

I dialed Ali\'s cell phone. It rang three times before she answered with a wary ’’Hello?’’

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